Country of Origin: India
Shipping Port: Kolkata
Grade: TGFOP Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
Altitude: 4000' 7000' ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Bright, lively and full of flavor. Has a lovely muscatel character with a hint of nuttiness, an excellent 1st flush Darjeeling
Infusion: Golden yellow
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
Tukdah estate, nestled high in the hills below the soaring majesty of the Himalayas is one of the shimmering jewels in the Darjeeling crown. The 557-hectare estate clings to the steep banks of the Teesta river valley downstream from Sikkim. It goes without saying that this corner of the globe is home to some of the most beautiful and arduous terrain on planet Earth. Even by Himalayan standards, the Teesta valley receives incredible amounts of rainfall. This comes in the form of great monsoons that wash across the landscape like a vast barrel being emptied from heaven. Accompanying the rain are great bolts of lightning that shake the hillsides like a passing elephant herd. Interestingly, the actual name Darjeeling means place of lightning. In Hindu mythology, legend has it that a thunderbolt thrown by Lord Indra, king of heaven, struck the ground in the surrounding woods. Tibetan monks subsequently began referring to the place as Dorje-Ling Dorje meaning thunderbolt and Ling meaning, Place.
The monsoon rains appear during the first flush, a period of peak seasonal quality. The rain ensures that estate's soil remains sufficiently wet for cultivating tea while the steep hillsides ensure that all rootstock is kept perfectly drained. Temperatures are cool - much cooler than in the neighboring growing region of Assam resulting in a markedly lighter cup overall when the product of the two are compared. Currently, 228 of Tukdah's 557 hectares are under tea, a remarkable number when one considers the steep, mountainous conditions. The estate employs over 780 people and produces 220 Metric tons of finished tea per annum. All 220 of these are superb, and so they should be as the estate is run and operated by a well cared for workforce. The management of Tukdah provides all workers with free housing, schooling, hospital care and places of worship. (Production and operational excellence has earned the estate HACCP certification certified by SGS India.)
The tea as mentioned, every drop of it is superb. For the full effect, begin with a pure white cup in order to fully appreciate the light, bright, golden liquor. Next, inhale the aromas and take note as your mind attempts to decipher wisps of sandalwood, the sweetish smell of damp forest canopy and plum. On the tongue, the unmistakable muscatel character for which Darjeelings are praised washes over your taste buds and fills the mouth with a lingering nutty finish. A cup fit for the god of heaven himself!
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). It is recommended to consume this tea 'straight-up' even though you may add milk and sugar if that is your preference.
Iced tea brewing method (To make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea, steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or 'milky' when poured over ice - a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!